26 September 2011

London Mozart Players, Ipswich School Festival of Music

By Rachel Sloane

London Mozart Players at Festival of Music, Ipswich School, 21 September 2011 

Picture: Ipswich school logo When a school arranges a music festival it would be fair to assume that the performances will given by the students. At this, the second Festival of Music organised by Festival Director, William Saunders and his team, there were seven days of performances, some of which included the students but also an impressive line-up of professional musicians and fringe events too.

If your musical taste is for Big Band Music, the combination of Ipswich School Big Band and the Musicians Union Big Band was the concert to attend. If you prefer your music from the organ, piano, or violin there were concerts for you. Collegium Regale held workshops as well as a concert, and the Farringdon Ensemble and the Prometheus Orchestra and Choir also performed.

I attended the opening night of the festival where the London Mozart Players performed Grieg’s  From Holberg’s Time for String Orchestra Opus 40, Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, St Paul’s Suite for Strings (by Holst) and Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge Opus 10 by Benjamin Britten.

It was a well-chosen programme of music from three centuries (18th, 19th and 20th) with something to please everyone’s taste in classical music.

An introduction to the work by Peter Warlock, explaining his eccentricities, added extra interest to the Capriol Suite, a work of different dance tunes, (country dances, stately and even sword) showing contrasting pace and texture.  

The sixteen string players were, as expected, of the highest standard but I guessed from the way they had time, as they played, to look around the audience and hall that, although musically faultless, the Mozart piece was perhaps a little over-familiar!

The highlight for me was Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge by Benjamin Britten, which, as we were told, is rarely performed. The composer completed it to a tight deadline and it was first performed just three months after he was asked to write it. This was a work of eleven short sections, for which the London Mozart Players needed all their concentration – especially in Fugue and Finale where the music was written for 15 parts – a particular challenge for an orchestra of just 15 players! (I was so glad we were warned to listen out for it)

The near- capacity audience were rightly enthusiastic with their applause for the London Mozart Players – and the Ipswich School Festival of Music 2011 was successfully launched.


(This review also appears onhttp://www.onesuffolk.net/home/previews-and-reviews/reviews)